Strategic Politeness in Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
Keywords: politeness; politeness strategies; literary discourse; social role; social interaction; social harmony
Linguistic politeness has been shown, over the last few decades, to be a successful device for studying literature linguistically. In addition to establishing and asserting identity and achieving goals, linguistic politeness is a means of studying social interaction to establish social, harmonious and friendly relationships among interactants. This study aims at investigating Anne’s social interaction in Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which has a very powerful meaning in children’s literature, and her relation with others as she grows up and as she develops from being a socially marginalized female character to a productive contributing citizen of Avonlea. Brown and Levinson’s pragmatic theory of politeness (1987), in addition to some other subsequent contributions, provide the
analytical tools to guide this approach, which correspondingly analyses the range of face-threatening acts performed (represented via directives), the forms of redressive actions taken to counter those threats represented in the form of linguistic strategies and the reasons and goals that substantiate the use of such forms in relation to social roles. The value of the study can be estimated not only by those working within the branches of linguistics or literature, but also it can be of value to EFL/ESL learners especially those who study the novel as part of their curriculum.